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Dramatizes the story of a father, who, after finding himself at a loss for words at a public meeting, follows his son's lead and starts a campaign of vocabulary improvement.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Coronet Instructional Films
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Literacy; Words; Self-improvement
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: A fine classic film
The actor who appears as Mr. Willis was a fine radio and stage actor from the Chicago area named Frank McLaughlin. It's wonderful to be able to see him again.
By the way, this particular Coronet film was filmed in color, and available in both color and black and white prints.
Retro Geek -
Subject: What you talkin' about Willis?
Mr. Willis appears to be a 50+ year old American white bread male who cannot communicate or express himself. Everyone, including his own wife and son, is using complicated and confusing words that he does not understand. This apparently has not hindered his ability to hold down an executive position. He manages to write very good business letters even though he admits he doesn't understand the meaning of the words he uses which ought to scare his superiors. However, like all good Coronet films, he can solve all his problems if he keeps a list of the words he doesn't understand and then spend exciting evenings alone studying them using a dictionary and thesaurus he apparently never knew existed. There's a very funny scene when his secretary comes in to announce a caller and he is in a frozen stare fuming over the word feasible. Also in true Coronet recycling fashion, notice the inserted clip from Are You Popular? This film is funny but not very FEASIBLE as to CREDIBILITY. Quick Willis, grab your dictionary!
Subject: English is nearly impossible to master, even as a first language.
Some total idiot can't talk and decides that he really should learn some 3+ syllable words. Word Learning turns out to be a frustrating mess, and he almost gives up, tormented by the voices in his questionably schizophrenic head, reciting vocabulary he is unfamiliar with. He finally decides that it's worth learning new words to avoid looking stupid at a town council meeting where he is asking for more parks(?)
This film is both condescending and completely implausible. It rocks.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: MR. WILLIS ISSUES EXPLICIT ULTIMATUM
Petes dad, Mr. Willis, has a problem (Pete doesnt have a problem, which is unusual for a Coronet film). It seems that folks keep usin all these high-fallutin words around him, words like explicit and anthology. It darn near drives him nuts (in a very campy scene) until he starts writin in one a them-there vocabulary notebooks. Now he can finally understand what his wife is talking about! This is a very campy film. Its main character is pathetically stupid, so much so that you get the impression that the only thing keeping him in his job is the fact that hes a white male. He even gets the book Fundamentals of Printing from the library to read for the first timeconsidering he works for a printing company this is probably a good idea. Good thing hes not a doctor. This character, and the fact that an adult is portrayed as the clueless one for once, make this a unique and memorable Coronet film, prime for msting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.
Steve Nordby -
Subject: Feasible allocate anthology ultimatum
Pete's persuasive position paper of plans for public playgrounds provide parent with positive paternal passion. Pete shows Dad his notebook of new words, and Dad follows suit. Soon he'll know what his wife is talking about, if he doesn't get frustrated learning "fancy words." At work he hears his son's soft, lisping voice in his head saying "explicit," and that motivates him to go to the library. Soon he's giving explicit ultimatums to an impressed city council.
Subject: Use them big words!
Coronet guidance films for adults are few and far between, I never knew they existed. So I was surprised when I viewed 'Build Your Vocabulary' as it presents a Mr Willis, struggling to make a speech at a town hall meeting. He then marvels at his son's term paper (called "Parks, Playgrounds or National Monuments?" and presented in an ugly duotang) He reads the first page and marvels at all the big words his son uses. He learns that NO, his son doesnt use these words every day, but it sure helps to build your vocabulary for when the time sees fit. Seriously, Mr Willis is pushing 50 and he's learning that NOW? Anyways, he learns from his son that it pays to MAKE A LIST (A Coronet staple) of big words he doesn't know, and learn their context. Mr Willis gets exasperated at his attempts at this in a VERY funny scene, throws his pen down and blurts "I'm going to BED!" But soon after, he gives it one more try, and then the audience at the the meetings marvel at his sudden public speaking skills. Reccomended!